Photos Capture Melting Splendor of Alaska’s Glaciers

Ed Schoenfeld at NPR:

Washburn500About 70 years ago, pioneer aerial photographer Bradford Washburn flew over Alaska’s glaciers, documenting their splendor while looking for mountain-climbing routes.

Now, a Boston photojournalist is following in his footsteps with a very different purpose. He’s reshooting Washburn’s images to demonstrate global warming’s impacts. Ed Schoenfeld of CoastAlaska News reports from Juneau.

Arnold500David Arnold sits on a bench outside a helicopter tour office, waiting for his charter flight. He shuffles through a collection of 1930s photographs showing Alaska glaciers from the air. They were taken by Washburn, a mountain-climber, mapmaker and museum director.

“The most remarkable thing about Brad’s pictures is the artistic quality of them,” Arnold says. “And actually, what you see today is the loss of art. The forces, the confrontations that so enamored him are gone.”

The glaciers Washburn found were massive. But many have since lost much of their mass. Arnold’s goal this day is to shoot the Mendenhall Glacier, in Juneau, and learn how it has changed since Washburn flew by in 1937.

More here.